Books to Look Out for in September 2020

Welcome to September! This month we are publishing books on how regional identities are reflected in text from medieval England, twenty-one completely new essays on aspects of Beethoven’s personal life, an exploration of the East African groundnut scheme and much more!

Enjoy a preview of some of our September releases. Remember, you can get 35% off all of our titles featured in this post with promo code BB685.

Beethoven’s Lives

The Biographical Tradition

Lewis Lockwood

In the span of the 200 years since Beethoven’s death, many book-length interpretations of his life and work have been created by individuals, each with their own angles of vision on the subject. As Lockwood shows, each biography reflects not only the individual author’s knowledge and interests but also their inner sense of purpose. Each biography reflects the intellectual framework of the time, from the first biographical attempts made directly after the composer’s death in 1827, through to the long nineteenth century and the foundation of modern Beethoven biography, and the analytical approaches to Beethoven’s music and creative process that emerged in the twentieth century.

The Tournaments at Le Hem and Chauvency

Sarrasin: The Romance of Le Hem; Jacques Bretel: The Tournament at Chauvency

Translated by Nigel Bryant

The Romance of Le Hem and The Tournament at Chauvency are eyewitness accounts of the famous tournaments held in 1278 at Le Hem on the banks of the Somme in north-eastern France, and in 1285 at Chauvency in Lorraine.
Written within weeks of the events they describe, they record in vivid detail not only the jousts and the mêlées but also the entertainments and dramatic interludes which preceded, followed and embellished these festivals of martial sport. Theatre as well as jousting, and jousting in the context of enacted stories, were central to what took place at Le Hem, involving elaborate role-play by participants as figures from Arthurian romance. And few medieval accounts of events have such thrilling immediacy as Jacques Bretel’s record of Chauvency.

The White Ribbon

Fatima Naqvi

Michael Haneke’s award-winning film The White Ribbon (2009) is a multilayered reflection on purity, ideology, violence, and child rearing. Although it is set in a small town on the German-Polish border in 1913-14, the eve of the First World War, its violence evokes other historical moments: the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the rise of National Socialism, 1960s German terrorism, and religious fundamentalism post 9/11. Fatima Naqvi’s book shows that the film bespeaks a certain historical “translatability” into contexts outside of Germany-despite the historical specificity it conveys on a surface level.

The Songs of Johanna Kinkel

Genesis, Reception, Context

Anja Bunzel

Johanna Kinkel (1810-1858) was a composer, music pedagogue, pianist, poet, writer, and activist. Despite Kinkel’s passion for choral music – she founded and led the Bonner Gesangverein for almost twenty years – as a composer, she was primarily known within the realms of art song. Between 1838 and 1851, she published seventy-eight Lieder with such well-established publishers as Bote & Bock, Hofmeister, Kistner, Schlesinger, and Trautwein. This book examines Kinkel’s musical output by focusing on her published Lieder and the context within which they were composed, performed, reviewed, and received.

The Mappae Mundi of Medieval Iceland

Dale Kedwards

The Icelandic mappae mundi (maps of the world), drawn between c.1225 and c.1400, are contemporary to the breathtaking rise of its vernacular literary culture, and provide important insights into the Icelanders’ capacious geographical imaginary in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. However, in comparison with those elsewhere, such as the Hereford mappa mundi, they have received relatively little critical attention.
This book explores these maps not only for what they reveal about the Icelanders’ geographical awareness, but as complex registers of Icelandic national self-perception and imagining, considering them in their various contexts, notably the physical. It reveals fully how Icelanders used the cartographic medium to consider fantasies of national origin, their political structures, and place in Europe.
The small canon of Icelandic word maps is reproduced here photographically, with their texts presented alongside English translations, enabling a wider understanding.

Imperialism and Development

The East African Groundnut Scheme and its Legacy

Nicholas Westcott

As colonial development took off after the Second World War, Britain’s Labour Government embarked on a scheme to convert 3 million acres of bush in Tanganyika into the largest mechanized groundnut farm in the world. The Groundnut Scheme was to prove the most expensive and most disastrous development scheme it had ever undertaken. Initially employing the United Africa Company as agent, the Government set up the Overseas Food Corporation to manage the scheme as an example of socialist development in Africa. Army surplus kit and demobbed soldiers poured into the country; by the time the effort was abandoned in 1950, the write-off figure was £36 million, yet almost no groundnuts had been exported. This book examines in detail, for the first time, this early major failure of agricultural development in Africa, and seeks to explain why it was launched despite experts’ doubts, why it went wrong, and its lasting political and developmental consequences.

Writing Regional Identities in Medieval England

From the Gesta Herwardi to Richard Coer de Lyon

Emily Dolmans

The period after the Norman Conquest saw a dramatic reassessment of what it meant to be English, owing to both the advent of Anglo-Norman rule and increased interaction with other cultures through trade, travel, migration, and war. While cultural contact is often thought to consolidate national identity, this book proposes that these encounters prompted the formation of intercultural regional identities. Because of these different cultural influences, the meaning of English identity varied from region to region, and became rooted in the land, its history, and its stories.
Using romances and histories from England’s multilingual literary milieu, this study examines some of England’s contact zones and how they influence understandings of English identities during the twelfth to fourteenth centuries. Moving from local identity in Ely, to the transcultural regions of Lincolnshire and the Welsh Marches, and finally investigating England as a border region from a global perspective, this book examines the diversity of Englishness and how English writers imagined their place in the world.

The New Beethoven

Evolution, Analysis, Interpretation

Edited by Jeremy Yudkin

Beethoven’s music stands as a universal symbol of personal and artistic achievement. As we reach and then surpass the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth, the editor has commissioned twenty-one new essays from some of the most insightful writers on Beethoven’s accomplishments and brought them together in this remarkable new volume.
Topics covered include Beethoven’s cultural milieu, his personal life, his friends, his publishers, his instruments, his working methods, his own handwritten scores, and, of course, his music. A landmark publication for all who admire some of the greatest music of our civilization.

Beyond Tomorrow

German Science Fiction and Utopian Thought in the 20th and 21st Centuries

Ingo Cornils

German Science Fiction (or SF) has always engaged with social change and technological progress, often drawing from utopian thought. Kurd Laßwitz and Fritz Lang challenged and critiqued Wilhelmine and Weimar society; utopian thinkers like Ernst Bloch and Herbert Marcuse insisted on hope despite totalitarianism. During the Cold War, German utopian writing and filmmaking were vital both as a warning and as a creative imagining of possible futures. More recently, as rapid scientific and technological advances have engendered increasing fears of the consequences, German SF responses have become increasingly dystopian, yet paradoxically hopeful. This book explores the genre’s responses to the question how humanity can match technological advances with social, ethical, and moral progress. It surveys German utopian thought and the German SF tradition-both literary and cinematic-providing close readings of selected works. English translations are provided throughout.

Opposing Apartheid on Stage

King Kong the Musical

Tyler Fleming

In 1959, King Kong, an interracial jazz opera, swept across South Africa. Despite taking place roughly ten years after the beginning of apartheid, this production, with its white directors and producers and African cast, orchestra and composer, received near-universal acclaim across the country. Often considered a key turning point within South African popular culture, the King Kong musical, its performers, and their combined legacies significantly shaped South African cultural history and global popular culture. Using the story of the jazz opera as a means to explore various aspects of South African cultural history, Opposing Apartheid on Stage unpacks the musical’s importance and historical significance.


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